Mao Zedong was a very oppressive leader and introduced communism into China. He made himself to be as “god” and he made China all worship him with the phrase that meant to live a million years.
Mao was born in 1893 in a small village, and he was in a somewhat well to do family. His father was a peasant, and mother a Buddhist. He struggled a lot in school because of bullies, and he even went to a police academy, although he dropped out. He saw that the government in China was oppressive towards poorer classes, and sought to bring about a revolution.
Mao joined a revolution that began in 1911 and became part of the government, Kuomintang. He joined a communist group with Marx and Engels as the main spirit of the group and traveled to Beijing in 1918 after graduating. After the Bolshevik Revolution, he became more radical, and in 1921 he organized the Chinese Communist party and the grassroots campaign. He rose through the party’s ranks and became the leader by 1925. A new leader became the chair of Kuomintang, and he decided to exterminate all communists. Mao tried to fight back, but he ended up defeated. He decided to move to more mountainous regions, and established there the Soviet Republic of China, and trained an army of guerrilla fighters. He was found and threatened in 1934, so they began a journey known simply as the Long March. The journey was 8000 miles, took one year, and resulted in the death of 70% of the 100,000 people he took with him. After the Journey, he set up a new communist state in the Yanan region, and through his skills became an undisputed leader. In 1937, he received help from the Japanese who were invading China and forced the old government to flee. So the Kuomintang had to recruit Mao’s help, and so they together helped defeat the Japanese in WW2. Therefore, once the bigger threat was eliminated, they faced off together and China entered a bloody four-year civil war. In 1949, the Communist’s gained the upper hand.
Mao Zedong in his reign tried to institute sweeping reforms, promoted the status of women, doubled school populations, improved literacy, and increased access to health care. His reforms did cause some discontent, and some of the people started complaining. He cracked down and started to execute thousands of people. In 1958, he tried what he called The Great Leap Forward, he tried to increase Agriculture and Industrial efforts, and he organized large communes of workers. Initial reports were pretty positive, but it was followed by three years of floods and bad harvests. It was the worst manmade famine and lasted from 1959-1961. Around 40 million people died in it. Therefore, in 1962 he was pushed to the side by a party, but in 1966 the 73-year-old Mao made a comeback. He gained followers among the young, who didn’t know of his failures, and once he came to power made sure to close schools, and executed intellectuals, and made sure that he would not be criticized or pushed. This was the most destructive part of his reign, and in 1972, met with President Richard Nixon, but his poor health interrupted the meetings. He died in 1976 and left a legacy of a genocidal chaos of 40-70 million deaths. He was a political genius, though, for he did unite and restore a nation torn by decades of infighting.
What we can learn from Mao Zedong is that terrible results come of giving too much power to any individual or government. That is the reason communism doesn’t work. Lack of a consistent religion, the controlling nature, and blatant disregard for common sense resulted in disaster for many countries.